Working creatively in an environment of continual and unrelenting change—typifying the era of the coronavirus pandemic—has parallels to moving through other rapidly-shifting environments. Underwater; in a fog; in a dense forest; in the darkness of night: our path is both obscured and filled with potential revelations. Fortified with a wider-than-usual breadth of creative ideas and material solutions, the artist maintains a sense of excitement and willingness to experiment, even when the difficulty of movement through daily life threatens to engulf one’s progression in a single direction. Sometimes, the artist’s direction itself branches out into something unexpected and wonderful.
The artists represented in Searchlight— Alison Ambrosio, Sarah Austin, Sam Betts, Bianca Allende Boyd, Reid Brawer, Calla Chan, Devon Garcia, Audrée Grand’ Pierre, Ellery Harkness, Destiny Arianna, Sydney Reaper, Isabelle Tuveson, and Zac Wilson—navigate the fog of the pandemic with flexibility and intention. Building a set of practices that embrace modularity, introspection, and a willingness to extend their visual languages, these young artists show us a way into a more open approach to navigating a chaotic time without losing creative focus. From naturalistic painting infused with magical realism, to experimental photography, collage, and digital work, to rigorous sculptural practices, these artists’ work spans a range of media to explore issues of the psyche, the environment, and art as a daily intellectual practice. As the fog lifts, this intense questioning and immersion in non-verbal language will remain intact, allowing the artists to move into the light of a new era guided by the strength of their own searching.
—Hilary Irons, 2021